Is MyFreeCopyright.com Worth Using?

We have another question about copyrights today, more specifically, MyFreeCopyright.com, which is something I see a lot of bloggers using!

I’ve been seeing some blogs that utilize myfreecopyright.com

What are your thoughts on this? Are there any other alternatives?:)

Great question!!

It’s very important to understand that MyFreeCopyright (and similar websites) don’t actually copyright your work. As soon as you create something, you own the copyright completely. That means, you automatically own every single blog post you make. You don’t need a site to copyright your work for you.

Then what does MyFreeCopyright do?

MyFreeCopyright is just a way to help prove that you own the copyright. Basically all MyFreeCopyright does is log the date and time that you created your work, so you can prove the creation day of the work. It doesn’t actually give you copyright, it’s just a way to help prove that the copyright already belonged to you.

But, MyFreeCopyright is, in all likelihood, considered a “poor man’s copyright service”. It’s not an official government website, so you’re not actually registering your copyright with the government.

I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.

Copyright.gov FAQ

Although MyFreeCopyright isn’t exactly the process of sending a copy of your own work to yourself, it is VERY similar:

MyFreeCopyright.com captures your original creation’s fingerprint, stores the fingerprint in a database and sends a copy of the fingerprint to you in an email. The email contains the verified date; the fingerprint verifies the digital creation, and your email address verifies it belongs to you.
MyFreeCopyright.com

So it’s still a process of e-mailing yourself, it just goes through an extra step. But I’m inclined to think that it would fall under the term “poor man’s copyright”, which is supposedly not very reliable (or of any use) in court.

When should you use MyFreeCopyright?

Personally, I say don’t use it at all. MyFreeCopyright is not an official government service. It is not an alternative for paying to register your work with the Copyright Office, and you should not treat it as such. Although it MAY be a tiny bit of use in court, you may not be able to take the matter to court if your work isn’t properly registered with the Copyright Office:

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”

Copyright.gov FAQ

Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, regis­tration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
Circular 1, Copyright Basics, Copyright Registration

So according to Copyright.gov, you are not even allowed to file an infringement suit in court unless your work is registered with the Copyright Office. That means, MyFreeCopyright will be of no use to you.

If you’re willing to take someone to court…

If you really want to have the most protection possible, and if you are fully willing to take someone to court for copying one of your blog posts, you need to register your work with the Copyright Office. There is no free alternative that will reliably hold up in court.

So, long story short, MyFreeCopyright.com will do absolutely nothing to help protect your blog posts from thieves.

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14 comments

  1. As far as I know another company took over MyFreeCopyright and it doesn’t even send you copies of your work anymore. It’s useless. I’ve heard bloggers switching to DMCA. I know neither place is really giving you a copyright but I think people feel better with the badge on their blogs.

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Stacking The Shelves #35: Naughty Books!
    1. If a little button really makes you feel better, then I think you’d be better off just making your own! In general the MFC website SUCKS. You’ll notice that if you visit your blog the page loads fairly quickly, but then it continues loading and loading and loading. And if you look in the status bar, it says this for about 30 seconds!! http://i.imgur.com/uQaE0ad.png

      That means the website isn’t even responding and it’s slowing down your site. At least the main bits of your blog load before that, but it still looks like your blog is trying to keep loading while it has that message up for about 30 seconds.

      So since MyFreeCopyright doesn’t actually do anything to help you, I would really recommend removing it and then you can always add your own button (that’s actually pretty and matches your blog design!) that says you own the copyright and people shouldn’t steal.

      Fiktshun does something similar. She has this button up: http://www.fiktshun.com/fiktshun/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/grabby_fikt.png It gets a similar message across (although hers is specific to images) but it’s a pretty button that matches her design!

  2. I used MFC for my personal blog and was skeptical that it did anything – especially since they stopped e-mailing copies of my blog posts (Jennifer’s comment clarified why)

    I wanted to do some more research before using MFC for my character blog and now that I’ve read your post I won’t be using it. Seems like a useless service to me.

    Thanks for posting this!

    Chris recently posted: Writer At Work
  3. Hello. Thanks for the great information! I was using this service for a while before I switched platforms. My question to you is how do you register your work (i.e. blog posts) officially? Is it even necessary to do that? Thanks again for the info. Take good care.

    Isunji recently posted: Happy Birthday Daddy!
    1. It’s not necessary to register your work anywhere. As soon as you create your posts, you own the copyright to them. You don’t have to register anywhere to get that copyright.

      If you are willing to take someone to court for stealing your posts, then you have to register your work with the copyright office of your country ( here’s the US link: http://www.copyright.gov/ ). This doesn’t actually copyright your work, it just registers proof that you already owned the copyright. But this is only useful if you would sue someone for stealing your posts (which most people wouldn’t actually bother doing).

      If you don’t want to sue someone for stealing your work, then there’s nothing you have to do to register it.

  4. I dont think you are totally right. The government always is going to say anything so you pay them. Copyright registration should br for free or for 1 dollar sor something like that is very hard for many artist to afford to pay for all they creation. Like me. Also , why the digital registration will not be a help in court? If e-mails in taking in account when fighting a situation in court same for this. Thinks are chaging and more and more internet resources are being taking in account in court, besides depende of the judge. All in all I think is a good help. These sites state very clear that they won’t warranty any thief using your work, that you have to fight it your self, but that also is pretty much what happen with the Official Gov Registration no matter what they say.

    1. My understanding is that you’re not even ALLOWED to sue someone for copyright infringement unless you’ve registered that copyright with the government. So using something like My Free Copyright won’t help you in legal cases since it’s not “real” registration. So you can’t even get through the door to sue someone.

      1. Hi Ashley

        let me jump in the disscussion on your last comment:

        ” My understanding is that you’re not even ALLOWED to sue someone for copyright infringement unless you’ve registered that copyright with the government ”

        Almost right, in fact you may sue someone for copyright infringement even if you do not have registered your work before, BUT, you can’t claim any Statutory damages, meaning you can only sue the copycat for reel, actual and direct domage, or lost of income, that the infringement cause you.

        This been said, you should also consider, that the US Copyright Office is the only National copyriht office providing a mechanism to deposit acomplete copy of your work.

        in all others cuntries, creator simply gives the work a title, and what worth a title wihtout its content ? nothing !

        To solve this issu (living in Canada) , I’m using http://www.myrightskeeper.com service. It’s a bit like my free Copyright, but instead of a e-mail base copyright, all works are save in their data-base, and you may get official third party evidence of the date you registered. this proof is made by legal service specialized in intellectual property protection.

  5. You are right to suggest NOT using myfreecopyright. You would be basically giving them your work. If the link (or site) goes down, whoever is in charge of the sever owns your work. You would have no proof of ownership.

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